My final sermon of the year was preached at Jubilee Church, London. You can download audio and video or watch it here:
Philippians 4:4 “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.”
Speaking about joy—Season of goodwill is upon us—“Happy Christmas” we say, but it can be a stressful and sorrowful time for many.
An epidemic of depression. Some biological, but much caused by wrong thinking and difficult relationships.
Everybody wants to be happy—even the person who kills himself.
Where can we find joy? IN THE LORD is the simple answer.
Alt title: How to have fun and follow Jesus.
Subject that I come to in some trepidation. One of my heroes speaks of God stopping him before he could speak on joy:
“I was at Romans 14:17. I had dealt with ‘righteousness’, with ‘peace’ on March 1st, and there I was stopped. I was not allowed to deal with ‘joy in the Holy Ghost’. I have the feeling that this was not accidental. God intervened and I could suggest a reason why. I was able to deal with righteousness and peace (I had fleeting experiences of it), but the third thing is the profoundest of all. Why was I not allowed to deal with it? Because I knew something, but not enough about it. ‘I want you to speak with greater authority on this,’ God said . . .
Here is what I would put before you. For six months, until September, I did not preach at all. For four months I have had the most valuable experience of being a listener. My general impression is that most of our services are terribly depressing! I am amazed people still go to church; most who go are female and over the age of forty. The note missing is ‘joy in the Holy Ghost’. There is nothing in these services to make a stranger feel that he is missing something by not being there.” READ MORE
(For more information about Lloyd-Jones, see John Piper’s brief biography and assessment of him)
How should we respond? HAS been progress, BUT, do we truly live in the good of 1 Peter 1:8 when it refers to, “joy unspeakable and full of glory” ?
Joy seen at football matches, and concerts, e.g. X-factor / American Idol.
Church should be the happiest place on earth. I am convinced that if we continue to let the Holy Spirit have free reign in our meetings, then real joy and a sense of the presence of God, will be the result.
Christians are not meant to be of all people the most miserable!
We should be the most happy!
Not true that “the more miserable=more holy!!!” Christianity and joyless churches are contradictions” p39 Henry Tyler’s Jump For Joy
So, the Bible gives us PERMISSION to be full of joy, as Christians, but more than that, it COMMANDS us to be full of joy.
Don’t hide behind temperament—those who tend to be positive beware against flippancy and riding roughshod over others. For those who tend to be pessimists; you need to loosen up and receive joy! (That’s easier said than done! Just “telling” them to loosen up isn’t really of much help. You need to tell them HOW to loosen up.)
What is joy = similar to happiness in some ways. Partly the absence of things to make us sad: George “I happy now” when sick. But more than that the presence of something positive. (You may know what you mean here, but I don’t.)
Tomorrow I will begin to share the 11 points I spoke about.